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Jeff Lampe

Jeff Lampe has been outdoor writer at the Journal Star in Peoria for 12 duck seasons. He lives in Elmwood with his wife Monica, sons Henry, Victor and Walter, and Llewellin setter Hawkeye. A native of Buffalo, N.Y., he is an avid fan of the Bills and still has mental scars from four consecutive Super Bowl losses. Outside of hunting and fishing, Lampe's main passion in Illinois was Class A boys basketball (which sadly no longer exists). Former publisher of the Class A Weekly newsletter, Lampe is a co-author of "100 Years of Madness" and "Classical Madness," both books focusing on prep basketball in Illinois.

Illinois Outdoors


A Web log by Jeff Lampe of the Journal Star

Illinois hunting and fishing

August 31: Picture of the Day

August 31, 2010 at 09:42 PM

If I could paint, I’d paint something like this.

Now as far as a picture, well this isn’t too great if focus is the object. But hey, this doe wouldn’t stand still. She wanted to move. This captures her moving spirit.

What I wanted to post was a picture of a dove on a wire somewhere. But on the way home from Presley’s Outdoors, I saw five doves. All five flustered off before I could snap a picture.

Hope I see more than five in the morning. And I hope this rain holds off.

Because I need something in focus for my Sept. 1 picture.


Story and comments
Illinois hunting and fishing

August 30: Picture of the Day

August 30, 2010 at 10:11 PM

So I spent Sunday blasting an old cast-iron tub with a sledge hammer.

Must have earned me some points. And not just in a cosmic sense.

At some point today, in what was a very odd and long day, my wife said, “Do you need a picture?”

Of course.

A leaf emerged. Not just any leaf. A wild-looking leaf. A sign of things to come. Fall is nearing. Hunting is coming. The best time of year? I think so.

So as I sit here hours later, smiling finally, ears still ringing from blasting the 1983 vintage tub (yes, I won), I can’t help but be happy. Some of that is that the boys are asleep, finally, and the music is blaring. Stones. Pavarotti. The Clash. Smashing Some Pumpkins. Budweiser. A good mix.

Beyond that is much more that pleases, at least in retrospect. Lawyer business. Bank business. New projects to come (stay tuned). The weeds mowed today in the dove field (thanks Gordon). A few birds that showed up. The bathroom moves forward, as it must in advance of hunting season. Momentum building. Much to do. Much to enjoy.

But most of all, my wife had a picture for me. A good one, too.

Life is good. It really is.



Story and comments
Illinois hunting and fishing

August 29: Picture of the Day

August 29, 2010 at 09:47 PM

I’ve been eyeballing a new television lately, drooling over these HD models ever since visiting my parents this summer. The picture was so clear that you could see nose hair on some of the anchormen (and women, hey, they live in Buffalo).

Anyway, I’ve had a bit of HD mania lately what with football season coming soon. And yes, sometimes I buy into technology. I buy into the idea that we are really figuring things out. That humans can sure make amazing stuff.

Then I walk outside and spend a few minutes with the plants. That’s when I’m reminded that HD TV is a fraud. Sorry to whoever invented it. But it’s not that impressive compared to one stalk of rough blazingstar. Not compared to one monarch chrysalis. Or one acorn, for that matter.

The really amazing stuff is where it has always been. Outside. Ready for us to admire if we’ll only take the time and get out there.

Story and comments

Wild Things 8-29-10

August 29, 2010 at 04:35 AM


Teal shot last year at Rice Lake, tops among Illinois River public sites. Teal season opens Saturday.

Good goose opener?

If banding results are accurate, local goose hunters should see plenty of honkers when the early season opens Wednesday. Goose reproduction was 12 percent above the five-year average in west-central Illinois. Surveys showed 2.31 immature geese per adult.

Early season runs through Sept. 15. Hours are one-half hour before sunrise to sunset. The daily bag is five in the North, Northeast and Central zones and two in the South Zone.

Walleye tour schedule

The Illinois Walleye Trail has added a few new venues for its 2011 tournament schedule, but will still focus mainly on the Illinois River. New this year is a Mississippi River event and a tourney out of Ottawa.

No membership is required and the entry fee for events is $200 per team. Learn more at or call Bob Kidd at (309) 527-6328. The IWT is a qualifying circuit for the Cabela’s National Championship and the AIM Walleye Circuit.

Here is this year’s schedule: Oct. 10 — Henry; Oct. 24 — Hennepin; Nov. 7 — Rapid City, Mississippi River; March 6 — Spring Valley; April 9 — Ottawa; April 10 — Spring Valley.

Did you know?

Forbes Magazine ranked the fish hook as the 19th most important tool of all time.

Fishing award winners

Maui Jim of Peoria won a best of show award for its Guy Harvey Collection of sunglasses at this year’s ICAST event in Las Vegas. Other winners at the sportfishing industry’s annual event were Koppers Fishing & Tackle’s Live Target Hollow Body Frog (soft lure), Shimano’s Waxwing Sub-Surface Swimming Jig (hard lure), Frabil’s FXE Stormsuite (apparel), Lowrance’s Elite-5 DSI (electronics), Rapala’s Sufix 832 Advanced Superline (line), Shimano’s Stella FE (freshwater reel), G. Loomis’ NRX (best of show and freshwater rod) and Sebile’s Soft Weight System (terminal tackle).

More friends needed

Friends of Rice Lake hopes to purchase a goose hunting pit or two for Double T this fall. But to make that happen, the new non-profit group needs more members or a few major donations. Visit for a membership application.
Or mail your name, address and check ($25, $50 or $250) to: Friends of Rice Lake, P.O. Box 4004, Bartonville, IL 61607.

Critter corner

In the wilds of Illinois in September ...
Ducks, songbirds, monarch butterflies and bats migrate south.
Muskrats build lodges.
Rabbit breeding finally ends.
Snakes enter winter dormancy.
Swallows stage in large flocks.
Persimmons and hazelnuts ripen.
Acorns fall.
Puffballs and other fall mushrooms appear.
Aster and goldenrod blooms.

This ‘n that

South Dakota’s statewide average increased to 6.45 pheasants per mile, compared to 6.26 last year and the 10-year average of 5.71. Highest counts were near Chamberlain (17 birds per mile), Pierre (13.95) and Mobridge (10.85). The South Dakota season opens Oct. 16. ... In an otherwise difficult time, some encouraging news for Wildlife Prairie State Park is that attendance is up 15 percent this year and Midwest Living Magazine recently cited Prairie Park as one of the best state parks around.

Story and comments
Illinois hunting and fishing

August 28: Picture of the Day

August 28, 2010 at 09:59 PM

The Illinois River is filled with fish like these. Still. Asian carp have come and have taken over much of the river, but the channel catfish have survived. So have the bass.

That they are still abundant in this river is a testament to its fertility.

And a reason to fish.

Another reason to fish came to the scales today at the Hamm’s Breading Mix and AAD Custom Boats and Welding catfish tournament out of the Pekin Boat Ramp.

Winning weight for 25 fish was an amazing 156.9 pounds, caught by Mark Farrow of Meredosia and Pete Deeder of Griggsville.

Farrow is a legend on the catfish circuit. As second-place finisher Tim Walsh of Danvers said, “That guy, he could catch fish in a hat.”

Story and comments

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